Suez Canal expansion: Big Data to optimize cargo transport

Copyright – Les Echos/Worldcrunch – August 7 2015 – By Florian Debes

The newly widened Suez Canal will be able to handle twice as many ships. To oversee this growing stream of goods, big data technologies are more present than ever.

The New Suez Canal steps into the 21st century, and into the world of advanced technology. In just one year, the work carried out by the Egyptian government on this 34-kilometer shipping lane has doubled its capacity: 97 boats will now be able to cross the isthmus between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea where previously traffic was limited to just 49 vessels.

“The canal expansion means that big data technologies will have to be used to monitor and track the influx of ships using the crossing,” explained Frank Tinschert, Director of BU Logistics at Quintiq, a subsidiary of Dassault Systems which offers supply chain planning and optimization solutions. Tinschert believes this is good news for ship owners and transport companies.

Real-time geolocation and insights into future stock positions

Today all modern man-made shipping lanes are equipped with laser scanners that record the position of the boats and containers throughout the crossing. This is crucial information both for the next stage of the journey — what volume or tonnage will need to be dispatched by road upon arrival in the port? When is the ship expected to dock? — but also to avoid collisions on a waterway that can now be navigated in both directions along its entire length. Thanks to this data, the parties at opposite ends of the supply chain can benefit from real-time visibility on how the position of their stock will evolve.

“There is high demand for transparency regarding the movement of goods,” said Frank Tinschert. From the operational perspective, monitoring goods in real time enables additional fuel savings by optimizing the sailing speed so the ship has to wait the shortest amount of time possible before entering the canal.

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